9 Mar 2012

Dollar up despite Reserve Bank governor's comments

6:51 pm on 9 March 2012

The New Zealand dollar has continued to rise despite continued efforts by the governor of the Reserve Bank to talk it down.

The central bank on Thursday kept the Official Cash Rate on hold at 2.5%.

At the same time, Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard warned the strong currency was hurting the economy.

In a media interview on Friday, Dr Bollard reiterated his view that the dollar is unneccesarily high, and again warned the bank could even cut the OCR if that strength continued.

The currency fell a touch following the comments but remained above Thursday's levels.

It rose almost one cent against its US counterpart overnight on Thursday, and at midday on Friday was trading at about 82.5 US cents. At 5.26pm it was trading at 82.63 US cents

Westpac currency strategist Imre Speizer believes the dollar could hit a post-float high in the next year.

It hit a record 88 US cents in August last year, the highest rate since floating in 1985.

Mr Speizer says forecasts put the New Zealand dollar at the mid-80s and even higher in six to 12 months.

He says the New Zealand dollar is likely to take a temporary dip some time in the next six months and then resume an upward trend.

The New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association is calling on the Reserve Bank to intervene in order to bring down the value of the dollar.

But ANZ chief executive Cameron Bagrie says there's not much the Reserve Bank can do as the New Zealand dollar's value against other currencies is dictated by a wider tug-of-war between the euro and the US dollar.

Mr Bagrie says the New Zealand dollar compared to the Australian dollar is at around 77 cents which is attractive, particularly given that Australia is this country's biggest trading partner.

But he says the NZ-US exchange rate seems to get most of the attention.